Sunday, August 22, 2010


I finally missed a week of posting. It was a good run, but it had to end sometime. I would like to say that I did not post anything last week because I was on vacation, which I was. Unfortunately, that would not be the true reason for it. The true reason I did not post anything last week was that I was lazy. Plain and simple.

Now laziness comes in varying degrees and thresholds. For me, sleep is the final barrier that I cannot break. As a younger person I could pull an all nighter or at least stay up until 3 am without difficulty, but now it is impossible. In my recent week of laziness, however, I have observed that Americans have slowly lowered their laziness threshold over time. This is evidenced by three very common examples which also only serve to perpetuate and further lower the threshold.

The first example of laziness is the elevator phenomenon. Whenever I have taken the elevator and other people have gotten in as well, someone has taken the elevator one floor. I am not talking about one floor in a casino or a hotel at night, when it actually makes sense to take the elevator one floor. Nor am I talking about people with strollers or disabilities or wheelchairs who actually need to take the elevator. I am talking about the museum, or the sports arena, or even the mall. And there are escalators in the mall, for goodness sake! Again, I am talking about one floor. Just one floor.

The second example of laziness is unemployment. Now I want to be perfectly clear in that I am not saying that all people collecting unemployment are lazy. But more and more I have heard stories about people who are more than happy to sit back and collect unemployment without looking for another job. This is a variation on the welfare trap, which states that the benefit of working may not outweigh the benefit of living off welfare, driving people to remain on welfare. There are two solutions to the welfare trap—increase the benefit of working or decrease the benefit of remaining on welfare. Neither solution is easily implemented in real life. While the welfare trap or unemployment trap would sound reasonable financial terms, it suggests a broader problem. That is, the lack of drive to succeed. Without true work, there can be no advancement in career, no raises, no increase in benefits, and no possibility of improving your station in life. That is true laziness.

The third example of laziness is the seemingly new phenomenon of the temporary CEO. It is not a coincidence that more and more we are hearing of CEOs coming and going like the ocean tide. And in every circumstance the CEO leaves with a ridiculous golden parachute worth millions regardless of the shambles in which the company is left. Each time this happens the public asks themselves, “What exactly did that CEO do?” The answer is usually, “Nothing impressive.” I would bet that everyday more and more Americans believe they could be CEOs of major companies because of this. And whether the logic is or is not syllogistic, people come to believe that you do not have to do anything to make money. That money does, indeed grow on trees.

So kick back. Life does not have to be challenging at all. We have taken care of your hardships at every level, including going up a flight a stairs. Pretty soon even you will get paid to have your ass wiped like a CEO.